Asia

Kazakhstan: Five 'militants' killed in stand-off with police

A woman places flowers as Interior Ministry members stand guard outside the firearms shop, which was a target of a recent suspected Islamist militant attack, during the funeral of salesman Andrey Maksimenko in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, June 8, 2016. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Flowers were laid at a gun shop where suspected militants opened fire on Sunday

Security forces in Kazakhstan say they have killed five suspects linked to attacks on Sunday in the north-western city of Aktobe.

Special forces stormed an apartment in the city and killed four suspects, the National Security Committee (KNB) said.

Another man was shot dead on the street after opening fire, the KNB said.

Suspected militants shot three civilians at two gun shops in the attack on Sunday, before killing three soldiers at a military base.

There were no causalities among the security forces during Friday's raids, the KNB said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, police were locked in a gun battle with the suspects who refused to surrender and fired at officers, the KNB said.

Kazakh authorities have not identified the group responsible for the Aktobe attack.

Kazakhstan's President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, said the attackers had received instructions from abroad but did not specify any foreign country or group.

Islamist attacks are rare in Kazakhstan. However Aktobe - near the Russian border - was the site of Kazakhstan's first suicide bombing in 2011.

The attackers on Sunday first targeted the gun shops, killing a vendor, a security guard and a visitor.

They then reportedly seized a bus to break through the gates of the army unit, killing three servicemen.

At least nine soldiers were injured during the attacks.

Video on social media showed a group of armed men walking on the streets of Aktobe and apparently preparing to shoot.

At least 11 other militants have been killed in police operations since the attack, according to reports.

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